What Food Items are Not Allowed in Dubai?

Dubai is a renowned tourist hotspot, welcoming millions of visitors annually from across the globe.

To safeguard its citizens and tourists, Dubai has strict laws regarding importing and consuming certain foods.

Therefore, knowing what food items are not permitted in this Dubai is essential to avoid legal consequences or health issues.

This article will cover prohibited food items in Dubai, penalties for breaking these regulations, exceptions, and advice for travelers visiting this place.

Prohibited Food Items in Dubai

Dubai has forbidden importing and consuming certain foods for cultural, religious, and health reasons.

The items not allowed are:

1. Pork and Pork Products

Pork and pork products are strictly prohibited in Dubai due to religious reasons.

Muslims do not consume pork, and Dubai, a Muslim-majority country, prohibits importing and consuming pork and pork products.

This includes bacon, ham, and pork sausages.

Violating this regulation can result in fines and imprisonment.

2. Alcohol

 

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Alcohol is prohibited in Dubai due to Islamic law forbidding the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Dubai has strict laws on alcohol, and even possessing alcohol requires a license.

Bringing alcohol to Dubai is strictly prohibited; violating this regulation can result in fines and imprisonment.

3. Non-Halal Meat and Products

 

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Dubai prohibits the importation and consumption of non-halal meat and products.

Halal is an Arabic word meaning “permissible,” It refers to food prepared according to Islamic law.

Non-halal meat includes meat from animals that are not slaughtered according to Islamic law, such as pork, wild game, and birds of prey.

Other non-halal products include gelatin, lard, and certain food additives.

Violating this regulation can result in fines and imprisonment.

4. Cannabis and Related Products

Dubai prohibits importing and consuming cannabis and related products, including marijuana and hashish.

Violating this regulation can result in fines and imprisonment.

Cannabis is banned in Dubai, and possessing even small amounts can lead to imprisonment.

5. Poppy Seeds and Products

Poppy seeds and products are prohibited in Dubai due to their potential to be used as a drug.

Poppy seeds contain trace amounts of opiates, which they can detect in a drug test.

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Violating this regulation can result in fines and imprisonment.

6. Banned Chemicals and Additives

Dubai prohibits the importation and consumption of certain chemicals and additives that are deemed harmful to human health.

These include food coloring, flavorings, and preservatives that the Dubai Municipality does not approve of.

Examples of banned chemicals and additives include Sudan red, a food coloring linked to cancer, and sodium benzoate, a preservative that can cause allergic reactions.

Violating this regulation can result in fines and imprisonment.

7. Baby Food

You should verify if and what Baby Food you can bring in advance with Dubai’s governing authority.

Remember to seal and carry separately the allowed baby food.

8. Cooked Food

As long as the Food is cooked, could you not bring it to Dubai? Whether you bought it from a restaurant or cooked it at home is illegal.

9. Smokeless Tobacco

Dubai has banned niswar, nut gutkha, Qat leaf, and betel leaf, among other forms of smokeless tobacco.

10. LAGS

Sauces, pastes, stews, soups, jams, SYNP, water, and other drinks fall under the LAGS category.

Whereas they aren’t fully banned, you can’t carry them in a container with a carrying capacity exceeding 100 ml.

It would be best if you also put them in a plastic bag that’s re-sealable and transparent.

Equally important, a passenger can’t carry more than one of these plastic bags.

11. Importing Food for Studies and Research

If you need to bring food for studies or research, ensure that the UAE authority approves.

Give the authority documents from the sender containing every food item on the list, including details.

12. Importing Food for Festivals and Fairs

Relevant bodies need to approve any food for festivals and fairs entering Dubai.

The event organizer is responsible for providing the necessary documentation to the authority.

The necessary details of such documents include the venue of the event, the time it will take place, and the people who will be attending.

The bottom line is availing the complete report of such an event.

13. Importing Food or Marketing Studies or Promotion

You can’t bring promotion or marketing studies of food without the approval of Dubai’s authority.

The officials will need detailed documentation of the food items you are importing.

Penalties for Violating Dubai Food Regulations

Dubai has strict penalties for violating its food regulations.

These penalties include fines, imprisonment, and confiscation of prohibited items.

1. Fines

Fines for violating Dubai’s food regulations can range from AED 500 to AED 20,000.

The fine amount depends on the type and quantity of the prohibited item.

2. Imprisonment

Violating Dubai’s food regulations can result in imprisonment.

The length of imprisonment depends on the severity of the violation.

For example, possession of drugs such as cannabis can result in up to 10 years of imprisonment.

3. Confiscation of Prohibited Items

Dubai authorities have the right to confiscate prohibited items upon entry into the country.

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Confiscated items will not be returned, and the traveler may face fines or imprisonment.

Exceptions to the Prohibition

Dubai has exceptions to its food prohibition regulations for certain groups of people.

These exceptions include the following:

1. Non-Muslims

Non-Muslims can consume alcohol and pork products in licensed establishments such as hotels and restaurants that have obtained the necessary permits from the Dubai Municipality.

2. Transit Passengers

Transit passengers who have a connecting flight in Dubai and are staying in the airport can bring and consume their food and drinks.

3. Medical Reasons

If you have a medical condition that requires consuming certain food items or medications containing prohibited substances.

You can apply for a permit from Dubai Municipality to bring them into the country.

Tips for Travelers to Dubai

To avoid any legal issues or health complications when traveling to Dubai, here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Check Dubai’s Food Regulations Before Traveling

Before traveling to Dubai, it is essential to check the food regulations and ensure that your food items are not prohibited.

This will help you avoid fines, imprisonment, or confiscating prohibited items.

2. Do Not Carry Any Drugs or Medications Without a Prescription

Dubai has strict laws on drugs and medications.

Carrying prescriptions for any medication you bring into the country is essential.

3. Avoid Carrying Large Quantities of Food Items

Carrying large quantities of food items can attract suspicion from authorities and lead to questioning or inspection.

It is advisable to carry only what is necessary for personal consumption.

Food Items You Can Bring into Dubai

There are food items that you can bring into Dubai. However, it is important to know that the amount you can carry is limited.

Here is a summary of these food items and the amount you shouldn’t exceed. Check them out!

  • Bread shouldn’t exceed 10kg
  • Canned Food shouldn’t exceed 25kg
  • Caviar shouldn’t exceed 500 grams
  • Cereals shouldn’t exceed 30kg
  • Children’s Food shouldn’t exceed 10kg
  • Drinks shouldn’t exceed 20 litres
  • Eggs shouldn’t exceed 11kg
  • Fish shouldn’t exceed 10kg
  • Fruits shouldn’t exceed 10kg
  • Grains shouldn’t exceed 30kg
  • Herbs shouldn’t exceed 5kg
  • Honey shouldn’t exceed 20kg
  • Juice concentrates shouldn’t exceed 5kg
  • Olive oil shouldn’t exceed 50 litres
  • Other oils shouldn’t exceed 50 litres
  • Other special-purpose Food shouldn’t exceed 10kg
  • Other sugar products shouldn’t exceed 20kg
  • Red meat shouldn’t exceed 30kg
  • Saffron shouldn’t exceed 500 grams
  • Seafood shouldn’t exceed 10kg
  • Spices shouldn’t exceed 5kg
  • Sweets shouldn’t exceed 10kg
  • Syrups shouldn’t exceed 20 litres
  • Vegetables shouldn’t exceed 10kg
  • Yoghurt shouldn’t exceed 20kg

Other Items Not Allowed in Dubai

Besides Food, there are other things you shouldn’t bring into Dubai.

They include the following;

  • 3-layer fishing nets
  • Ammunition and its replicas
  • Any product that comes from a boycotted country
  • Bats
  • Blades that are bigger than 6cm
  • Car repair parts
  • Chemicals
  • Compressed gas cylinders
  • Crude ivory, including rhinoceros horns
  • Electrical cables other than personal use cables
  • Electronic hookah
  • Firearms and their replicas
  • Flammable liquid
  • Flare guns and their replicas
  • Forged or duplicate currency
  • Gambling tools and machinery
  • Hammers
  • Handcuffs
  • Hoverboard
  • Laser guns
  • Lithium batteries
  • Martial art weapons
  • Measuring tape
  • More than one lighter
  • Nails and drills
  • Narcotic drugs such as hallucination pills, heroin, hashish, and cocaine, among other similar substances
  • Packing tape
  • Personal grooming kit items longer than 6cm
  • Photographs, publications, paintings and sculptures, among other items that, could contradict Islamic teachings or faith
  • Ropes
  • Scissors
  • Screwdrivers and any other sharp tool
  • Segways
  • Self-balancing or smart wheels
  • Substances containing radiation, such as nuclear
  • Swords or any other sharp object
  • Walkie-talkie
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Other Items Allowed in Dubai

Whereas some items aren’t allowed in Dubai, don’t hesitate to carry the flowing things if needed.

  • Alcohol shouldn’t exceed 4 litres
  • Baby strollers
  • Cars suitable for people living with disabilities
  • Cash that doesn’t exceed AED 60000, including other currencies, traveller’s cheques, and banknotes
  • CD and DVD players
  • Cigarettes shouldn’t exceed 400
  • Cigars should be less than 50
  • Computers
  • Integrated broadcasting gear
  • Gifts with a value of less than AED 3000
  • Laptops
  • Personal possessions
  • Personal sports equipment
  • Portable calculators
  • Portable music equipment
  • Portable TVs
  • Portable typing sets
  • Radio systems
  • Telescopes
  • Tobacco should be less than 500 grams
  • Video cameras
  • Wheelchairs

Banned Medicines in Dubai

Don’t consider carrying banned or prohibited medicines or drugs in UAE at the Dubai Airport.

They include the following;

  • Alpha-methylifentanyl
  • Betamethodol
  • Codeine
  • Etorphine
  • Ketamine
  • Morphine
  • Risperidone
  • Thiofentanyl
  • Tramadol
  • Trimeperidine

However, if you must carry, here are the guidelines;

  • It would be best if you had your doctor’s prescription, and it should also be valid
  • Grab the prescription’s attestation certificate
  • Ensure that the medication doesn’t exceed the amount you need throughout your stay in Dubai. In other words, if you stay in the city for a month, only carry the exact dosage you need for that period.

Is There Kosher Food in Dubai?

Yes, there is kosher food available in Dubai. The city has seen a growing availability of kosher food options, especially since the normalization of relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel in 2020.

This development has led to an increase in Jewish visitors and residents, resulting in a higher demand for kosher food.

Hotels and restaurants in Dubai have started to cater to this demand by offering kosher meals.

Some establishments have even obtained kosher certification to ensure their food meets all dietary requirements. Additionally, there are specific kosher food service providers and caterers in Dubai that offer a range of kosher products and meals.

Can You Eat Camel Meat in Dubai?

Yes, you can eat camel meat in Dubai. Camel meat is a traditional food in the Middle Eastern region, including the United Arab Emirates, and is known for its unique taste and texture. It’s often considered a delicacy and is sometimes served in upscale restaurants or at cultural events.

Camel meat can be prepared in various ways, such as grilled, stewed, or even used in burgers.

Conclusion

In conclusion, to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit to Dubai, travelers should be aware of the strict regulations on importing and consuming certain food items.

These include pork, alcohol, non-halal meat products, cannabis derivatives, poppy seeds, related products, and banned chemicals.

Breaking these rules can result in fines or imprisonment alongside confiscating prohibited items.

However, there are exceptions for transit passengers with medical conditions who require special medication.

While non-Muslim visitors may also bring restricted goods into the country without legal consequences.

To avoid potential issues, it is advised that tourists check applicable laws before traveling.

Carry valid prescriptions if necessary and don’t possess large quantities of forbidden foods during their stay in Dubai.

Reference:

  1. Abu Dhabi Food Control Authorities | Food Regulations – https://www.adfca.ae/english/Pages/default.aspx
  2. UAE | Clearing Customs & Custom Duty – https://u.ae/en/information-and-services/finance-and-investment/clearing-the-customs-and-paying-customs-duty/restricted-items-in-the-uae

 

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